So, what was Jo Swinson doing in Private Eye?

You always take a bit of a sharp intake of breath if you see one of your lot mentioned in Private Eye. However, this time, our Jo Swinson is the hero of the story. The current issue drew my attention to her most recent victory over cosmetics giant L’Oreal although the article isn’t available online. The Advertising Standards Authority recently banned another advert from the company, the third complained about by Jo. It featured actress Rachel Weisz and the ASA concluded that:

Although we considered that the image in the ad did not misrepresent the luminosity or wrinkling of Rachel Weisz’s face, we considered that the image had been altered in a way that substantially changed her complexion to make it appear smoother and more even. We therefore concluded that the image in the ad therefore misleadingly exaggerated the performance of the product in relation to the claims “SKIN LOOKS SMOOTHER” and “COMPLEXION LOOKS MORE EVEN”.

The ad breached CAP Code (Edition 12) rules 3.1 (Misleading advertising) and 3.11 (Exaggeration).

Jo talked about the Campaign for Body Confidence among other things in a recent interview with the Guardian. The interviewer clearly had an agenda that body image was trivial in relation to the other issues going on at the moment. It’s as if they didn’t appreciate that unrealistic expectations of young people, especially young women, hold them back, stop them getting up and getting on in life  – and that’s the last thing we need in tough economic times.

Jo talked about why her work was so important:

 “But [airbrushing] is a very important issue. It’s important because it has an impact on health. The Royal College of Psychiatrists has said very clearly that they think excessive retouching – and I would talk about this in a much wider context anyway, because it’s not just about retouching cosmetics adverts, it’s about the whole range of body image pressure on men and women – but this kind of culture creates a huge amount of pressure on people, and that can lead to self-esteem problems. At extreme ends, we have rising rates of eating disorders, and we [also] have a much larger section of the population that engages in what they would call disordered eating rather than eating disorders. And then, from an educational point of view, there’s research that shows young people are less likely to participate actively in class on days when they’re not feeling confident about their appearance.”

You can read the whole interview here.

* Caron Lindsay is Editor of Liberal Democrat Voice and blogs at Caron's Musings

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One Comment

  • Malcolm Todd 15th Feb '12 - 2:26pm

    “we considered that the image in the ad did not misrepresent the luminosity or wrinkling of Rachel Weisz’s face, … the image had been altered in a way that substantially changed her complexion to make it appear smoother and more even.”

    Eh? How can both halves of that statement be true? I’m quite baffled by this. (I’m also quite baffled by the habit of this particular company of taking beautiful women with strong features and a history of playing strong characters and rendering them virtually unrecognisable by smoothing their faces — be it electronically or otherwise — until they look like they were grown in a vat. But that’s another issue.)

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